Archive for December, 2006

An Inconvenient Distribution: A Web 2.0 Geek’s Letter to Al Gore

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006


I just sent a hand-written letter to Al Gore:


Dear Sir,

Your lifelong environmental work is to be applauded. Everyone should see the vital message you convey so effectively in “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Unfortunately, theaters are unable to deliver your ideas to the necessary scale. Even with a version available on, downloaders must still pay $15. Any fee is an economic inconvenience that guarantees a limited distribution.

You must reach everyone, in a way only “free” can.

I humbly urge you to give it away.

Social connectors like myself will carry your message to saturation. If your film were freely available on the Internet, I would personally share it with my network of hundreds.

There are many profitable ways to make the film freely available. By widening exposure, you will be increasing the pool of DVD buyers. Also, increased merchandising revenues and donations will supplement DVD sales. Perhaps you only give away a low-resolution version.

Please enable this epidemic of ecological awareness. All you need to do is give your film away.

Michael Eakes


It is important to note that the filmmakers have implemented several grass-roots distribution techniques, but they are not enough.

If the warnings in the film are correct, they are too important to be delayed by traditional and inefficient distribution methods. The current fee and copy protection are inappropriate. The film should be free (as in beer).

By utilizing existing peer-to-peer technology, like BitTorrent, Mr. Gore won’t even have to shoulder the hosting burden.

I appreciate your constructive comments on this matter.

UPDATE1: I realize that content sometimes becomes available on YouTube or via BitTorrent without the permission of the copyright owner. However, I am advocating for the owners to give it away legally, and then to publicize, promote, and encourage the distribution of the free release. I have offered to volunteer any technical assistance Mr. Gore might need in order to achieve this.

Tag Cloud Name Badge

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Friday’s holiday event at hatfactory had a great crowd. The coworking space tends to attract a really great mix of positive energy geeks, as well as alternative living, transportation, and media hackers.

I was delighted to run into my favorite think-tank couple, Linda and Erick Von Schweber. I was even more delighted to see that Erick was donning a tag-cloud name badge illustrating his various interests “for the month”.


Apparently Erick is not alone, he pointed me to “Daniel Steinbock, a PhD student at Stanford, who independently began producing and wearing a tag cloud tag, or cloud tag for short.”

I think its a brilliant idea to help people connect a little faster at gatherings. Now if only we could have our digital meta-data broadcast locally over bluetooth. Then we could get little software filters that help us automatically match interests with other nearby people. The system could apply a small voltage to give us a tingly feeling whenever someone interesting comes near… heyyyyy… wait a minute…


Tuesday, December 12th, 2006


I couldn’t help but notice these dog mannequins in a San Francisco shop window. Are these anthropomorphic figures well established? Did I already miss their tipping point? I immediately consulted “the google” to find out.

My conclusion, despite the abundance of dog mannequins and fashion to adorn them, is that the life-size but lifeless animals are only at the beginning of their frenetic, memetic life-cycle. I take comfort knowing this becuase no-one beat me to google-coining the word “doggequins” Did I just google-coin the verb “google-coin”?

In any case, I’m certainly going to buy the domain names before the great doggequin epidemic happens.